Tuesday, 24 June 2014

...I can't believe it's been over 2 years!!

Wow, this is crazy.. I haven't "written" a blog post in over 2 YEARS! Did you miss me?? I guess you could say that life got busy, or I just got lazy... probably a combination of the two! Keeping an up to date blog post is not as easy as it looks I tell ya. Posting relevant, interesting information, having the energy to type..it can be tough. Since I have not posted anything in so long I will give all of you an update on what has been going on in my life:

I achieved one of my goals and received my CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) designation in November 2012! I worked very hard to achieve this designation, trying to juggle working full time and studying after work and on the weekends (It wasn't easy!). This achievement means a lot to me and shows that I am an experienced, skilled and dedicated event planner.

I've been working at Mitacs for almost 3 years organizing academic conferences and events and last spring I was promoted to Conference Planner! This was a position  I was working towards since I started at Mitacs and I have a boss who was a great mentor to me and helped me achieve this promotion. It feels pretty darn good to be recognized for your hard efforts and experience. I am very much enjoying being a planner and my position continues to challenge me on a daily basis (I am never bored, always learning!).

I got out of debt finally last year and boy does it ever feel good! I am hoping to not be in debt again... unless it's to get an affordable house or car. I am being smarter with my money and I am working with a financial planner to improve my spending habits and learn to save for the future. It feels great to make purchases and not have debt hanging over my shoulders.

I joined MPI BC  back in 2012 and I am so glad I did. I have attended numerous networking and educational events and have met some great friends and contacts in the industry. I also joined their Special Events and Education Committee assisting with MPI BC events throughout the year and I became the CMP Study Group Chair last year. Annnnd just last week I received the Volunteer of the Year of the award, something I was not expecting but I was honored to receive it of course! I really value my membership with MPI and I encourage anyone in the events and meeting industry to join, you won't regret it!

I was looking for a workout regime that really fit my lifestyle and then out of the blue I found the 30 Minute Hit. It's a boxing/kickboxing circuit with a dedicated trainer on the floor that is only for 30 minutes and you can drop in between a four hour window usually in the morning or afternoon/evening. I can drop in, do my workout and I'm out!! It really works for me and I have noticed changes in my body since I started. My dedication to the Hit really paid off because last year I was given November member of the month. Again, it is pretty awesome to be recognized for my hard efforts. I love the Hit community and great trainers and I highly recommend them to any lady looking for something a little different :)

My boyfriend and I moved in March of this year to a bigger and better apartment. 1300 sqft, 2 bedrooms PLUS an upstairs loft (so it basically is like 3 bedrooms) and not one but TWO balconies. It also has vaulted ceilings and we finally get bike storage which is so great. We are very happy with where we are living and are definitely getting our monies worth :)

The boy and I finally got new bikes which is so exciting!! We both got hybrids so that we can ride on the road and some trails. I am super excited to ride a lot this summer with my sweetie and on my own. It's a great way to stay fit and explore Vancouver. ALSO, I started to get into tennis more last year and signed up for tennis lessons. I really learned a lot and and definitely improved my form, even though I am still pretty much a beginner :) There are a couple free tennis courts where we live so my sweetie and I will be hitting the courts a lot this summer.

In terms of vacation, we went to Mexico this past May finally!! I was so happy we could afford going on a well-deserved vacation without worrying about debts, it felt so good. Mexico was honestly amazing. We stayed at the Barcelo Maya Tropical along the Mayan Riviera near Playa Del Carmen. It was the first time we both stayed at an all inclusive resort. I could not believe how much food and alcohol there was, it was quite overwhelming at times! The weather was of course amazing and everything just looked so beautiful. We got to visit Chichen Itza (Mayan Ruins) ad I got to ride a dolphin!! There was a lot of lounging by the beach and pool which is just what we needed. I can't wait for our next vacation :)

Annnd lastly over the past few years I have been seriously thinking about starting my own event planning business. I am still trying to figure that out but I am leaning towards organizing a few events throughout the year through my own business and working full time and see where that goes. Currently, I am doing contract work as an event planner and will be providing on-site wedding day coordination next month which I am very excited about. I will keep all of you updated on how the business pans out :)

OK WOW! This was a long post but come on.. it needed to be done since it's been such a long time. I promise I will be posting more frequently and providing my readers with valuable and interesting content on event planning and my passions as per usual :)

- Shira

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Change is AWESOME!

Hey everyone!

So today I wanted to talk about change. There has been a lot of change in my life as of late. I started a new job and also started to build my wedding planning experience, I joined MPI BC (Meeting Planners International), I started my application to become a CMP (Certified Meeting Professional) and I began attending networking events.

More recently, my boyfriend and I are moving! We signed the rental agreement last week. I am super duper excited about this new place. It has everything we need and more! And you know what? It was the very first place we looked at! We totally lucked out :).  Moving is of course a lot of work and can be quite stressful but I am trying to keep the end goal in mind - a fantastic new place with my sweetie!!

So lots of changes in a short period of time! It can really overwhelm a girl. I need to make sure I don't get stressed or burnt out from all of this. I need to take the time to slow down, breathe and really appreciate all the new things in my life. *sigh*

Even though lots of change all at once can be overwhelming, it can be quite exciting! I love my new job, I can't wait to help with more weddings this summer, I'm super happy to have joined MPI, I am very much looking forward to getting my CMP (I just joined a study group that starts in March, yay!), I love meeting great people at networking events and I of course cannot wait to move into my new place. See?? Super exciting!

Now, there is definitely nothing wrong with having a daily routine, however, I think it's important to have ongoing change in one's life (it doesn't have to be as much as me of course). It adds spice to life and it gets you out of your comfort zone! Yay for change!


P.S. My posts may not be as frequent this month due to me moving :)

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Tips to Help YOU Become a Successful Event Planner

Hello everyone! Sorry for my delay in posting my first event planning tips post of 2012 but life just seems to be getting busier and busier...and I'm not complaining :)

Soooo let's just right into it! I wanted to provide some general tips to help you become a successful event planner. Know why? Because I want you to be successful!

So here goes: 

Onsite event clipboard. It's important to keep an clipboard with you at all times with all your event-related essentials. The clipboard allows you to reference important event information at a glance. It will keep you on top of everything and display professionalism. The clipboard should include a list of all your key contacts (venue manager, A/V staff, catering manager etc.), event schedule, venue/catering/A/V (audio/visual) contracts, event catering and A/V order, floor plans, registration/vip list and any other important documents that you will need to keep on hand at your event. Your clipboard should also have a couple pens and a highlighter.

Event kit. Along with having your clipboard it's important to bring an event kit with you onsite. The kit will contain all the tools that you need to put on a successful event. The size of the kit usually depends on the size and complexity of the event (eg. for a large conference you would bring a large kit and for a small workshop you would bring a small kit with some essential items). I'm not going to list everything that should be included but here are some key items to include:
  • Scissors
  • Pens - blue, black, red
  • Markers
  • Highlighters
  • Stapler
  • Pads of paper
  • First Aid Kit
  • Breath mints
  • Elastic bands
  • Paper clips
  • Tape
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Ibuprofen
End of day task list. This may not be for everyone but it definitely helps me. What I do at the end of every work day is a make a list of all my tasks listed in order of priority. This helps me manage my time, keep track of all the tasks that I need to complete and meet project goals. It's kind of anal but I have to make that list before I leave for the day or I just go CRAZY! :)

Event brief. In the beginning stages of planning your event you should create a brief which outlines all the details of your event in one place. The brief should include the following:
  • Overview of the event
  • Event goals
  • Event concept
  • Detailed schedule
  • Key contacts
Critical path. In order to keep track of all your event timelines and make sure your event goes as planned, it's very important to have a critical path. And what is a critical you say? It's a sequence of activities in a project plan that must be complete by a set project deadline. So for an event, it's a list of event-related tasks that must be complete in order for the event to be executed successfully. An event critical path lists all the event tasks, deadlines associated with each task and who is responsible for completing each task. If the deadlines are not met it typically creates a domino effect - one task not being complete will affect another and so on and so forth. It's really important to stay on top of your critical path and review it frequently to ensure your event is successful.

I do of course have other tips up my sleeve but I will leave that for another post ;)

Happy planning!

-Shira :)